Tactics Board: QPR 1-3 Southampton


Queens Park Rangers can’t turn a corner and they can’t defend one either. As Southampton won the game branded ‘El Sackico’, one of the themes of the season – zonal marking – was present and incorrect. But, more to the point, so was another: Rangers’ ineptitude.

…Southampton’s first is a case in point. QPR opt for zonal marking from corners, but that depends upon putting the correct players in the right zones to begin with. From one corner, Rickie Lambert won a header against Alejandro Faurlin, hardly renowned for his aerial ability, at the far post. The breakthrough was the indirect result of the subsequent corner. As with both dead-ball concessions, Rangers failed to adapt to the second phase of play.

…Saints’ third goal was another indication of Rangers’ inability to react to their opponents’ movement. For the second time in a few minutes, the visitors took a short corner, with Puncheon exchanging passes with Morgan Schneiderlin before the latter’s cross was turned in by Anton Ferdinand. That was made all the easier as, with the QPR players standing in central zones, no one went out towards the touchline to defend the short corner.

…As the amount of attempts at goal – 12 for QPR and 20 for Southampton – showed – and number of clean sheets – one between them – illustrates, these are two fundamentally open sides. But within that, there was a difference. Southampton’s two central midfielders, Schneiderlin and Jack Cork, usually remained behind the ball, with the Frenchman making the most interceptions of any player, whereas the Rangers back four were not afforded that protection.

…Bizarrely, Esteban Granero, Rangers’ best central midfielder, was stationed on the right flank, where he was up against a 17-year-old full-back, in Luke Shaw, and did not trouble him, before being moved into the middle at half time when a specialist, Jamie Mackie, came on to play on the right.

For Southampton, however, Puncheon was particularly influential. Sometimes operating as a conventional outside-right, sometimes appearing as an inside right and sometimes appearing on the left, he sent in six crosses – one of which hit the post – and had nine shots. His impact was partly because Southampton had a fluid front four (and then three after Ramirez’s removal) with Lambert spending spells on the left to free up the middle for others, particularly because runners from deeper or wider positions often went unchecked.

…Nevertheless, future opponents may still be encouraged to attack Southampton on either wing. On this evidence, they were simply given reasons to attack QPR.

Read Tactics Board: QPR 1-3 Southampton

Tags: , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: